Texas has been using their excessive and unwarranted influence on textbook content to insert right-wing propaganda and lies into the entire nation’s school books. I am pleased to see that California has taken the first steps to reduce Texas wingnuts’ influence. A California lawmaker has introduced Senate Bill 1451, a law that calls out Texas for its biased agenda, and mandates the formation of review panels to screen new textbooks for violation of the apolitical and non-discriminatory requirements of public school textbooks. Here’s the relevant text:
(f) Section 60044 of the Education Code prohibits instructional
material to be used in schools that contains any matter reflecting
adversely upon persons because of their race, color, creed, national
origin, ancestry, sex, handicap, or occupation, as well as any
sectarian or denominational doctrine or propaganda contrary to law.
(g) On March 12, 2010, the Texas Board of Education, which
consists of 15 elected members statewide, voted to adopt revisions to
their social studies curriculum for the 2010-11 school year
(formally referred to as revisions to Texas Administrative Code,
Title 19, Chapter 113, Subchapters A-C, and Texas Administrative
Code, Title 19, Chapter 118, Subchapter A).
(h) Although not yet formally adopted, it is widely presumed that
the proposed changes to Texas’ social studies curriculum will have a
national impact on textbook content since Texas is the second largest
purchaser of textbooks in the United States, second only to
(i) As proposed, the revisions are a sharp departure from widely
accepted historical teachings that are driven by an inappropriate
ideological desire to influence academic content standards for
children in public schools.
(j) The proposed changes in Texas, if adopted and subsequently
reflected in textbooks nationwide, pose a serious threat to Sections
51204.5, 60040, 60041, 60043, and 60044 of the Education Code as well
as a threat to the apolitical nature of public school governance and
academic content standards in California.
SEC. 2. Section 60020.8 is added to the Education Code, to read:
60020.8. Upon the next adoption of the History-Social Science
Curriculum Framework, the state board shall ensure the framework is
consistent with provisions governing instructional materials,
including, but not limited to, Sections 51204.5, 60040, 60041,
60042, 60043, 60044, 60048, 60200.5, and 60200.6.
SEC. 3. Section 60050 of the Education Code is amended to read:
60050. (a) The state board shall adopt regulations to govern the
social content reviews conducted at the request of a publisher or
manufacturer of instructional materials outside the primary and
followup instructional material adoption processes. A social content
review is intended to determine compliance with Sections
51204.5, 60040, 60041, 60042, 60043, 60044, 60048, 60200.5, and
60200.6, and the guidelines for social content adopted by the state
It’s not a huge step, and I imagine publishers will be scrambling to produce books that fit Texan demands without being blatantly right-wing…which probably means they’ll be watered down into even more tepid pap. But at least it’s going in the right direction in putting up an intellectual barrier around the Texas aberration, marking it as a scholastic pariah state.